Over the past years, the gaming scene has changed drastically. Now, video games’ popularity is not limited to a certain age group. The advanced technology and stunning, realistic effects have changed the game.
In 2020, the global gaming market was valued at $173.7 billion. It is also expected to reach $314.4 billion by 2026. People of all ages are enjoying video games. However, gaming can have major effects on kids. These effects can be either good or bad. That is why parents need to supervise their children. They need to help the kids adopt healthy, balanced gaming habits.
Here are some guidelines to help you understand the gaming world and its effects on kids:
Are video games good for your kid?
There is a huge debate on whether gaming is good or bad for kids. Just like anything, if used wisely and in moderation, gaming can actually benefit your children in many ways. Some video games can help your kids develop problem-solving skills. They will teach the child to not only work harder but also smarter to win the game.
The concept of losing in games and trying again teaches the kids to never give up. They will also learn to cope with loss. Moreover, in the digital gaming world, your children can socialize with their friends. They can also gain new friendships with kids their age. This will help build their social skills.
All these benefits depend on the type of games your kid plays. Violent games might not necessarily lead to actual violence. However, they will not contribute to your child’s development and growth. Other gaming types, like role-playing or strategic games, might be a better choice.
When does gaming become a problem for kids?
Of course, video games do not come with benefits only. Multiple research results imply that gaming can have serious negative effects on kids. To protect your children, you need to observe and supervise their habits. If they start showing signs of violent behavior, increasing aggression, or irritability, you need to step in.
Spending too much time playing video games can also cause sleep disruptions. Some kids can even become addicted to gaming. It can dominate their lives and interfere with their everyday activities, including school and social life.
Kids who spend too much time playing video games are usually trying to escape their reality. If they are denied access to games, they start showing withdrawal signs. This stage might require professional intervention. You need to search deeply for the reasons and motivations behind your kid’s gaming addiction.
Several signs can show you that your kid is starting to become addicted to video games just like social media. Usually, the child will start facing trouble at school. Their grades will deteriorate. Some mental and physical health problems might arise. Fortunately, all these issues can be resolved by limiting or suspending video games for your kids.
How do gaming companies attract kids?
Just like all major brands, gaming companies rely on influencers for marketing. They go to social media and gaming celebrities to reach their audiences on various platforms. Many of the biggest gaming influencers started out as regular teen gamers. That is why they are popular idols for kids.
Teenagers can spend hours watching these influencers’ gaming videos. They also follow them on social media platforms to learn tips and discover the latest in the gaming world. That is why these influencers have a great impact on kids.
In many showrooms or expositions, gaming tools or accessories are available for a free trial. The kids are encouraged to try them out. That is how the video game companies get them hooked. The parents are then forced to buy their kids these gaming products. Therefore, as a parent, you should be aware of all these video games marketing strategies. This will help you protect your kids.
Phone games, app installs, and bad ads
During the past decade, the business model of gaming companies has changed radically. In the past, video games were bought as hardware. That was it. There were no updates or ads. As cloud technology has evolved, so did video games. Now, the initial price of the game is not all you are going to pay. It is just the start.
As you play the game, you will start receiving ads for updates and upgrades that you need to buy. That is how modern video games have turned into a gateway for future spending opportunities. With kids, the problem of in-game ads is more serious.
Young children cannot differentiate between the games they play and the ads. Some of the gaming ads are even designed to look like a part of the game. The cancel or exit button on these ads is often impossible to find and click on. That is why many kids open ads or in-app purchases by mistake. Other times, the ads push children to make the purchase. They manipulate the kids on an emotional level.
Some parents have no clue that the games their children play, come with hidden ads. These ads can lead to purchases or show adult-related content. That is why the parents should familiarize themselves with the games their kids play. They should also educate the children and show them how to close these ads.
How long should a child be allowed to play video games?
Gaming disorder is real. It has now officially been recognized by the World Health Organization as a mental health disease. That is why parents should take the gaming habits of their kids seriously. Like other aspects of raising children, the healthiest approach to do anything is in moderation.
In general, any kind of media exposure for children younger than two years of age is not recommended. For older kids, from five to eighteen years, experts recommend limiting the total screen time to less than two hours per day. This includes the use of gaming consoles, tablets, or smartphones.
The addiction to video games is not just related to time. If your child is showing erratic behavior, sleep disorders, or physical pain, you need to limit or take away their gaming devices. In all cases, playing video games should never replace the time for schoolwork, chores, or other physical activities.
What parents can do to protect kids from gaming addiction
Too much of anything is just too much. This goes for every aspect of life, especially playing video games. Here are a few things you can do as a parent, to protect your kid from getting addicted to games:
1. Limit their screen time
Setting a limited time for your kids to play games is a must. However, it might not work perfectly if the gaming console is in your kid’s room. They can spend too much time playing video games, and you might not know about it. That is why you need to keep the gaming console in another room, where you can monitor it.
Getting your kids to play video games in a common area will help you catch any inappropriate content. You will also ensure that your children will not get isolated or carried away playing a game. They will play while interacting with you or other family members.
2. Offer them other appealing choices
Telling your kids to stop playing a video game with nothing else to do is ineffective. That is why you need to make sure they have other appealing options to get off the video game. Whether it is sports, socializing with friends, or doing any other activity, you need to find something enjoyable for them to do. Otherwise, they will feel bored and irritated about not playing their video game.
Getting your kids involved in any physical activity will increase the serotonin levels in their bodies. This will enhance their mood. It will show them that they do not need to play a video game to be happy.
3. Talk to your children
Spending too much time playing video games is not normal. You need to understand why your kid is doing this. Why are they escaping their own reality? Gaming addiction is often the result of deeper issues that your child is going through.
Ask your kid what they enjoy about gaming. Their answers will guide you and help you identify the real problem. You can even try to play the game with them. This can help your kid open up and talk to you more honestly. Try to make it a habit to always include gaming in your family conversations. This way, you will keep the lines of communication with your kids open.
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There is no doubt gaming can be a positive addition to your kid’s life. Gaming is fun and exciting. However, too much of it can lead to serious issues. That is why video games should be used in moderation. Just like any other digital device, video games require parental supervision. You need to step in to protect your children and not let them be manipulated by the gaming industry.
Keep your kids safe, without suffocating them. Let them experience the gaming world in moderation!